A Very SAT Summer By Azusa Ueno

While studying for the SAT doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend your summer, it is certainly important–and crucial–if you want to achieve a desirable score on your SATs in the Fall and Spring. Here are some tips:


Take a diagnostic test

If you have not started any SAT prep, this is the first thing you should do, as soon as you can–it will give you a sense of where you’re currently at, as well as what your strengths and weaknesses on the reading, grammar, and math sections are. 


Get a study plan going

If you’re the independent type, make your own study plan. Even if your diagnostic scores are decent, you’re best off covering all the bases that the SAT tests–don’t make any assumptions. Here are some core topics:



  • Reading comprehension: how to read quickly but efficiently to grasp the main idea
  • Understanding passages types: purpose and structure
  • Question Types: fact, inference, purpose, evidence-based (among others)



  • Grammar: sentence structure, punctuation, verbs, pronouns (to name a few)
  • Rhetoric: introductions and conclusions, add or delete, sentence placement



  • Heart of algebra: manipulating and solving equations, understanding linear equations, systems of equations, etc.
  • Passport to Advanced Math: nonlinear equations/functions, polynomials, equations of circles, etc. 
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis: statistics (mean, median, mode, histograms, dotplots, standard deviation, lines of best fit, statistical sampling), reading and interpreting data, etc.
  • Additional Topics: complex numbers, area and volume, trigonometry, etc.
  • Word problems: the 4 points above will always be presented in the context of word problems, so be aware of how to make the connection between words and actual math. 


Self-study resources:

  • Khan Academy: comprehensive with plenty of explanatory videos and practice questions. You can also tailor content and a study plan according to your needs
  • College Board’s SAT Study Guide:  contains full-length practice tests which would serve as great practice to apply the material you’ve learned or studied.
  • SAT Prep Black Book: comprehensive and thorough information, and in-depth explanations of practice test questions. The book also addresses some aspects of the SAT that non-English speakers should be aware of.
  • Kallis’ SAT Pattern Strategy: 6 practice tests, quality content coverage, and questions that are reasonably representative of the official test. 


Take a summer class

If you’re not sure how to manage a study schedule on your own, sign up for a summer class. Many classes will provide a regimented schedule to introduce core concepts that the SAT tests, and some will even offer options to take mock exams and to participate in either group or one-on-one reviews to target your strengths and weaknesses.


Just remember that a summer course is not your end-all-be-all. You will need to do thorough and consistent review after taking your chosen course.

Find out more about PANO SAT Summer Courses

Take mock exams

Practice is key to mastering timing and application of strategies on all sections of the SAT. What’s also important is that after the mock exams and during a self-review, don’t just mark answers as “right” or “wrong.” You should be able to pinpoint why exactly mistakes were made and what ones you tend to make the most often.


Depending on your progress in your self-study or class, you should aim to take between 4-8 mock SATs during the summer. Make sure you replicate testing conditions as best as possible (taking the test in the morning and in a quiet, classroom-like space).


Figure out your testing timeline

Based on your progress, you should have a clear testing timeline by mid-late summer. The 2020-2021 International SAT schedule was as follows, but check back actively on College Board for an updated schedule. 


Remember: registration deadlines are about a month from the actual test date, so sign up well before them. Also, there is NO late registration for international test takers. Once you miss a deadline, you’ve missed it.